BRITAIN'S hardest hit areas have seen twice as many deaths this spring than normal, according to official data.

There have been almost 62,000 deaths above what would usually be expected in the UK during the coronavirus outbreak and new statistics reveals the areas that have been worst hit.

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Death registrations in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland show 48,896 deaths in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, including suspected cases.

A further 819 hospital patients in England who had tested positive for Covid-19 died between May 23 and 31, according to figures published on Monday by NHS England, indicating the overall death toll for the UK is now just over 49,700.

The UK death toll is the highest in Europe and second highest in the world, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.

London dominates the top ten areas with the highest excess deaths from March 1 to 22 May 22 this year, according to the ONS data.

Brent in West London has been the hardest hit local authority, with 925 deaths which is more than double the average of 445 deaths for the previous five years.

SECOND WORST HIT AREA SAW HOSPITAL OVERWHELMED

The next door borough Harrow is the second worst affected with the 775 deaths which is 99.7 per cent higher than its five-year average of 338.

Northwick Park Hospital is located in Harrow and was forced to declare a critical incident early on in the crisis after becoming overwhelmed by a surge in coronavirus patients. 

Hertsmere, Hertfordshire, in south west England is the only non-London area in the top ten. 

It had 439 deaths this spring when it usually has 235.8 excess deaths.

Mole Valley, in Devon, had the 16th worst excess death rate, with 72.5 per cent worse than normal. 

The least affected area was the Isle of Scilly, off the south west coast which actually had three less deaths from its usual six.

Second was North East Lincolnshire, which had 39 less excess deaths  and third Conwy in Wales which had 33 less extra deaths. 

It comes as the number of weekly deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales fell by almost a third in a week and reached its lowest level for seven weeks.

There were 2,589 deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales registered in the week ending May 22, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

This is down 32 per cent from the previous seven days, with 3,810 deaths involving coronavirus registered in the week ending May 15.


Asked during a Science Media Centre briefing whether he expects deaths from Covid-19 to stop or plateau, Prof Carl Heneghan said: "There's been a continued reduction in hospital deaths, care home outbreaks are coming down so the 'all deaths' by (week) 22 I'm expecting will be back to where we should be.

"The trend in the data suggests by the end of this month we should be in a period where we're starting to see no (Covid-19) deaths. But it also depends on what happens next, within sporadic outbreaks."

Prof Kevin McConway, Emeritus Professor of Applied Statistics at The Open University, said: "I certainly don't want to be a prophet of gloom, but I would urge some caution about these positive trends.

"The new week's data would not yet have been affected by the loosening of the lockdown.

"If any of the changes turn out to have increased infections, that won't show up in death statistics yet anyway, because obviously there is a time gap between infection and death. But we'll see eventually."

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